Why won't you just bloody die, South Africa! First of all, you decided to have free elections for everyone. I was convinced that you were all going to butcher each other. Of course I was smart and left the country just before the election. Imagine my disappointment when I saw that you were all standing in lines together – black and white. Well, there was no killing but a peaceful voting process in 1994. I was convinced that the pretense wouldn't last. I mean, how could it? We had been killing each other for years.
One of the biggest shocks for me was when you hosted the rugby World Cup in South Africa in 1995. I watched from my adopted country while missing the fact that I wasn't watching while braaing with my friends. When the Boks played the All Blacks in the final I was sure that there would be race riots afterwards because I knew that blacks didn't like rugby or the Springboks. But at the end of the match, the Springboks won and I saw pictures of blacks and whites HUGGING and KISSING on the streets! Celebrating together! TOGETHER! That would never have happened in the old South Africa! I was so disappointed at what kind of sissies and softies my former countrymen had become.
When I see good news coming out of South Africa, I'm pretty sure you guys make it up to hide the fact that you are actually struggling. I'm also pretty sure the soccer World Cup was staged to cover up the atrocities that were happening there. When we left, we had no doubt that that country was going down in flames. In fact, we were rooting for it to go down in flames. Blacks and whites were going to kill each other and those naïve whites who had decided to stay would have deserved what they got, too.
It is so painful to see that this damn country hasn't regressed like many of us believed. It sucks big time because we can't even admit it to ourselves that things are going well. We trawl the internet everyday for bad news to prove to ourselves that we made the right decision by leaving those ANC communists and that sell-out FW de Klerk. In fact, I still have friends in South Africa who make it their mission to send me all these bad news about the country. (I wonder if they are doing that to make sure that I never come back. Maybe they hate me, I never did think about that.)
When I left that godforsaken country, I didn't think things would be getting better instead of worse. I came across something on the internet called Two Decades of Freedom, What South Africa is Doing With it, And What Now Needs To Be Done, by Goldman Sachs. I was convinced that since they are an entity from the West they would be very balanced in their view. By balanced, I mean talk about everything that is wrong with that country. But no, they had to write a glowing review of the last 20 years and say that things are actually better than they were during apartheid. Is that possible?
They say that the ANC government has done well – can you imagine that! They claim that access to electricity has improved to 85%. And – wait for this – they also say that during apartheid in the years between 1980 and 1994, South Africa's gross domestic product grew at an average annual rate of 1.4%, while between 1994 and 2007 it averaged at 3.6% and brought inflation down to 6.3%. They say that South Africa grew from an economy of $80-billion to $400-billion since 1994. That means the economy more than tripled in that time. It basically grew faster than a lot of countries in Europe. Who would have thought?
Do bear with me while I go through the phases of grief. I started with denial, then anger. I think I am going to move all the way to acceptance at some point and admit that South Africa is actually better off now than it was during apartheid. When I have accepted it, I might go back. But in the meantime, I will keep trawling the internet for bad news about South Africa to make myself feel better.
I'm still hoping to wake up tomorrow morning to find that that the Goldman Sachs report was just a dream. I mean, it's just not possible that South Africa is a better place now than in 1994. I think I will ask the Afrikaans Weerstandsbeweging to compile a more objective report.